Robert's parents are very friendly people. I met them a couple of months ago, when they came out for a visit. Apparently, they wanted to meet the people with whom their son was in business. Robert's dad struck me as a quiet soft-spoken and thoughtful man. His mother is a confident and outspoken woman. We all sat around in Peet's Coffee in Alameda and discussed McGuffin, and our plans and listened to some well-meant advice on how we should pursue things. They are definitely idea people, and you can see from where Robert gets it. They're quite likable individuals. When I first heard that Robert was going back to Cleveland while his dad recovered from surgery, I sent a get-well card to him with Robert. It was only in hindsight that I thought it would have been better to have included Tom and Don too, on the idea, but I didn't think of it at the time. It was an impulse kind of thing.
Robert and I are not good ones for knowing exactly what to say when someone comes to them with bad news about which nothing can be done. We both pride ourselves on being guys who know how to solve problems, and yet the world does confront us with problems that have no simple solution, if they have one at all. I remember our brief conversation when I had told him about my wife leaving. Really, there wasn't much that could be said after the details of the news had been relayed. Sure, I felt bad, but what was anybody going to be able to do about that? We discussed the events and some facts and details, and then we went right back to our McGuffin discussion, as we usually did every other lunch time. Tonight's conversation ran somewhat the same way, obviously with the roles reversed. I briefed him on what the three of us had been doing on our McGuffin work, while he was away, assured him that we would put any decisions on some things on which we had been working on hold until he got back and to take what time he needed. I felt bad for him. I still do, and I told him that I was sorry to hear the news, but what else can be said to someone in that situation?